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Getting rid of a big belly

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  • Getting rid of a big belly

    My horse has a large belly but is not fat. How do I get rid of it??? This is a gelding by the way.

    The problem is not worms, he is on a regular program, and is in a stall/paddock situation cleaned daily. He is not fed any grain other than supplements, and gets moderate amount of hay (timothy mix).

    He is worked regularly (5Xs a week), is an eventer, so gets a good mix of jumping, trail riding, gallop, hill work, dressage, etc...

    He isn't fat, the rest of him looks perfect, so how can I get rid of this big distended belly? It pushes my saddle forward ... so its not just cosmetic.

    Any suggestions would be helpful.

  • #2
    A CBC might be in order. Power Pac might do it, or a better quality hay, if what he's getting isn't that great. Does his back seem OK... back bone not sticking up, good coverage.


    • #3
      Argee with the PP. You may think (as I did) that your de-worming schedule is sufficient - perhaps it isnt.

      I would also think ulcer.


      • #4
        my horse used to bloat a lot.. sometimes it was different hay that was harder for him to digest. I played around with different supps and feeds.. finally he's off all grain, on a very simple whole food based diet, and also on hemp oil for colonic ulcers. No bloating.


        • #5
          Please talk to your vet about this. My horse has had the big belly thing going on all summer (he tended to be very fat). He was 8 and healthy. He was also at the perfect age for lymphoma.

          Long story short, his belly was big because it had fluid in it. A CBC gave us our first clue. I am really experienced with horses and am stunned I missed seeing this. I put my horse down a week ago.


          • #6
            Well it your horse is not overweight it could be one of two things ......worming or not enough protein.

            You may be on a regular worming program but unless you have done some fecals just prior to worming and then one two weeks after you don't know that it is working.



            • #7
              I would agree with you that it's unlikely to be a worming issue if oyu are on a regular protocol.

              But it could be a protein issue. My big-bellied boy has "subsided" quite nicely since I adjusted his diet 2 months ago to contain more protein and less bulk--he now gets a more alfalfa-y, less grassy hay, and small quantities of alfalfa pellets and oats and ricebran to mix his supplements ( just joint, selenium, E, and magnesium) into.

              He's looking, and apparently feeling, much better on this diet, even with limited work (recovering from a suspensory strain at the moment) than the previous "throw all the grass hay he'll eat at him" diet. He actually has some semblance of a top line and no bloaty gut, and is still his normal calm self.

              He's soy-intollerant (bloats and colics on any at all--even the odd treat), so we have to improvise a bit and check out our supplements ingredients very carefully.

              Depends on the horse.


              • #8
                Could it just be a conformation issue? I ask because I have a 10 y/o TB gelding who is built like a house, with a big belly. he still has ribs showing, but has a bit of prego-mare look. Has been PP'd back in Sept, followed by anthelcide 1.5x weight. Has had omeprazole ulcer treatment back in April.

                I wasn't really worried about him until the lymphoma and bloating comments above... how would I know? I've never dealt with this before...


                • #9
                  I find that adding Optizyme by MannaPro stops the bloating.
                  "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                  "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Centuree View Post
                    My horse has a large belly but is not fat. How do I get rid of it??? This is a gelding by the way.

                    The problem is not worms, he is on a regular program, and is in a stall/paddock situation cleaned daily. He is not fed any grain other than supplements, and gets moderate amount of hay (timothy mix).

                    He is worked regularly (5Xs a week), is an eventer, so gets a good mix of jumping, trail riding, gallop, hill work, dressage, etc...

                    He isn't fat, the rest of him looks perfect, so how can I get rid of this big distended belly? It pushes my saddle forward ... so its not just cosmetic.

                    Any suggestions would be helpful.
                    How much hay does he get and where is it from? Hay grown in this area is usually not the highest quality (especially the timothy mixes) and the horses will have a larger abdomen simply from increased intestinal fill.
                    Turn off the computer and go ride!


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks everyone for your input.

                      Okay so he gets 3 flakes of alfalfa/timothy mix, and 2 flakes local (made on Vancouver Island, BC).

                      It is interesting that people said he might be low on minerals. I had the chiro out recently who felt that he may be low on selenium or calcium or magnesium. So I switched his grain to an absorbable supplement rich feed.

                      Perhaps I"ll ask the vet for a CBC, thanks for the warnings and sorry for your loss Watermark. As for his back, no his bones do not stick out, he has a fairly nice topline. But the weird thing is sometimes he does look a bit ribby, but then still has this belly .

                      Will talk to my vet, thanks guys.